Healthy breakfasts (for people who hate breakfast)
Get into the habit of eating breakfast with these simple breakfasts designed to whet the appetite of even the most habitual breakfast skipper.
Not hungry first thing in the morning? Pushed for time? Trying to lose weight? These calorie-counted treats will tempt you to rediscover the pleasure of breakfast.
From energy-boosting "apple pie" porridge and protein-packed scrambled eggs, to a nutrient-rich green smoothie and granola bars, there's something for everyone.
"Creating the habit of eating in the morning is something you can build towards," says dietitian Alison Hornby. "Start off with a light bite, such as a piece of fruit or a low-fat yoghurt.
"After a while, your morning appetite will naturally increase and you'll probably find you eat less throughout the day, including snacks."
Research suggests people who eat breakfast are slimmer because they tend to eat less during the day, especially high-calorie snacks.
If you're short on time in the morning, think about ways of gaining time by keeping your breakfast choice simple, either by waking up 10 minutes earlier or getting other chores out of the way ahead of time.
'Apple pie' porridge
Serves: one adult Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 5 minutes Calories per portion: 345kcal (1,443kJ)
50g of porridge oats 200ml of apple juice (with no added sugar) 100ml of semi-skimmed milk 1 medium dessert apple, diced 1 pinch of cinnamon
This is a warm and comforting porridge spiced up with the classic flavours of a homemade apple pie.
Throw all the ingredients into a saucepan. Heat and stir until boiling, then lower the heat and simmer gently for five minutes, stirring often. Spoon the porridge into a serving bowl and add a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Or you could try
muesli, fresh fruit and low-fat yoghurt – fruit added to your muesli counts towards your 5 A DAY. Low-fat yoghurt provides calcium and protein, and is low in fat, but watch out for the sugar content. Go for muesli with no added sugar.
porridge with mashed banana and dried blueberries – put oats and a handful of dried blueberries in a bowl and add semi-skimmed milk. Heat in the microwave for 3-4 minutes, stirring every so often. When cooked, stir in the mashed banana. The mashed banana is a healthier substitute for sugar or honey. For best results, use a very ripe banana.
baked beans on wholemeal toast – not only are they naturally low in fat, baked beans are also packed with fibre and protein, making them a vegetarian source of protein. Look out for reduced salt and sugar ranges.
breakfast cereals – cereal can be high in sugar, with some containing up to 37% of the white stuff. Try switching to lower-sugar cereals or those with no added sugar, such as plain wholewheat cereal biscuits, plain shredded wholegrain pillows, or plain porridge. Find out more about reducing your sugar intake at breakfast.
Scrambled eggs (with optional wholemeal toast)
Serves: one adult Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 5 minutes Calories per portion: scrambled eggs 247kcal (1,033kJ), two slices of wholemeal toast 190kcal (795kJ)
2 eggs 4 tbsp of semi-skimmed milk 2 slices wholemeal toast 2 tsp of low-fat spread 1 pinch of black pepper Optional sprinkling of chopped chives (calories nominal)
The secret to perfect scrambled eggs is to fold them gently in the pan to get curds, rather than a dried, quivering mess.
Lightly mix the eggs and milk in a bowl. Melt the low-fat spread in a pan and add the egg mixture. Cook over a medium-high heat, stirring slowly and gently until they're just set with big, soft curds. Serve the eggs on the slices of toast, sprinkle them with chives, and season with some pepper.
To make green eggs, scramble your eggs with a handful (40g) of spinach (30kcal/125kJ).
Or you could try
cold meat and cheese platter – for a lower-calorie option, go for lean meats such as roast ham or turkey, and light cheeses such as 30% less fat mature cheese or "light" medium-hard cheese. Accompany with fresh grapes and crackers.
low-fat Greek yoghurt topped with fresh fruit, such as strawberries and mixed nuts – packed with about 10g of protein per 100g, Greek yoghurt boasts almost twice the protein of regular yoghurt.
smoked salmon and low-fat cream cheese bagel – halve the bagel and toast it. Spread low-fat cream cheese on one side of the bagel and top it with salmon. Add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of black pepper.
Serves: one adult Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: none Calories per portion: 140kcal (586kJ)
40g of tinned mango slices (discard liquid) 40g of tinned peach slices (discard liquid) 40g of frozen spinach 1 medium banana 200ml of water (or as required)
Smoothies are a great introduction to breakfast if you don't normally have much of an appetite at the crack of yawn. They're also a good portable option for your morning commute.
Compared with some hardcore recipes, our green smoothie is a softer version that's quite sweet and fruity, while still giving you a healthy serving of greens. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Add more water to achieve the desired consistency.
Instead of tinned fruit, you could use frozen or fresh fruit.
150ml of this smoothie provides one of your 5 A DAY. Find out why.
Or you could try
banana and oats smoothie – transform your speckled bananas into an energy-boosting liquid breakfast. Blend one ripe banana with 2 tablespoons of oats and 100ml of semi-skimmed milk until smooth. Can also be made using a soya drink.
very berry smoothie – take one banana, 140g of frozen summer berries or forest fruits, 40g of low-fat natural yoghurt, and about 100ml of apple juice. Blend the banana and berries until smooth. With the blades whirring, pour in apple juice to achieve the consistency you like.
pimp your toast – tired of your usual toppings? Toast doesn't have to be boring. Brighten up your bread spread with these healthier combos: mashed avocado and hardboiled egg, marmite and grilled 30% less fat mature cheese, or banana slices and peanut butter.
'Grab and go' breakfast bar
Makes: six bars Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 25 minutes Calories per portion (one bar): 300kcal (1,255kJ)
150g of jumbo oats 2 medium, very ripe bananas 60g of melted butter 60g of cherries 60g of cranberries 40g of sunflower seeds 40g of pumpkin seeds
Sometimes mornings can be a bit of a rush. Make a batch of these granola bars, with no added sugar, in advance for a healthy breakfast on the go.
Preheat the oven to 200C (fan 180C, gas mark 6). Mix the oats, cherries, cranberries and seeds together in a bowl. Pour in the melted butter and mix in thoroughly to make sure the oats are well coated.
On a separate plate, mash the bananas into a pulp with a fork, add to the oat mixture, and mix well. Spread the mixture into a 30x20cm tin and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Once cooked, transfer to a wire rack to cool, then cut into six bars.
Press the mixture into the baking tin well to help the binding process, but not too hard or it may affect the flavour.
If your first batch is more crumbly than you'd like, try increasing the amount of mashed banana to moisten the mixture before baking.
Or you could try
banana bagel sandwich – mash a ripe banana and serve it between two halves of a toasted (preferably wholemeal) bagel. Mashing instead of slicing the banana gives the filling a creamier texture, meaning you won't need low-fat spread.
quick porridge – making porridge is easier than you think: combine 50g of rolled or instant oats with 200ml (or more for runny porridge) of semi-skimmed milk in a bowl and microwave on full power for two minutes. Top with dried fruit or nuts.
one-minute omelette – combine one beaten egg, a few spinach leaves and some chopped lean roast ham in a bowl. Microwave on full power for a minute or until the egg is set.
English breakfast muffin
Serves: one adult Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 5 minutes Calories per portion: 309kcal (1,293kJ)
1 wholemeal English muffin, sliced in half 1 poached egg 1 slice of lean roast ham 20g of reduced-fat or "light" medium-hard cheese 2 tsp of low-fat spread 20g of fresh spinach leaves 1 pinch of ground black pepper
Oozing poached egg on a layer of cheese and roast ham – what's not to love about this lower-calorie version of the classic English breakfast muffin?
Preheat the grill. Toast the muffins on the cut sides only. Poach the egg in gently simmering water for 3-4 minutes until the yoke is set but still runny in the middle.
Spread the toasted sides with the low-fat spread and lay on the spinach leaves, ham and cheese. Place the poached egg on one muffin half, season with black pepper, and top with the other half.
If you prefer, you can scramble the egg with 4 tablespoons of semi-skimmed milk. Pour the mixture into a heated pan. Cook and stir until the eggs are just set.
Or you could try
overnight oats – combine oats and apple juice and let it sit overnight in the fridge. In the morning, add low-fat yoghurt, honey to taste, and fresh fruit such as berries.
baked eggs – put an egg (with yolk unbroken) and some crème fraîche in a ramekin. Put the ramekin in a baking dish and fill with hot tap water so it comes 3/4 of the way to the top of the ramekin. Bake for 15 minutes or until the egg yolk is set to your liking.
healthy full English breakfast – for a healthy version of the king of the morning meal, combining eggs, bacon, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and baked beans, go to our Meal Mixer.